Recent interest in titanium dioxide (TiO2) nanomaterials has been driven by the excellent photocatalyst and optical properties exhibited by the anatase and rutile phases of TiO2. The aim our research is to systematically design and synthesize TiO2 nanostructures via solvothermal synthesis with a view to optimising the photocatalytic properties.

The high photocatalytic activity of TiO2 acts to degrade adsorbed organic and biological molecules, reducing them to smaller and less harmful compounds. TiO2 nanostructures have the advantage of having large surface areas, allowing for greater photocatalysis. This photocatalytic ability could be used for applications such as:

TiO2 nanomaterials also exhibit self-cleaning ability, activated by UV light. This self-cleaning is caused by hydroxide ion adsorbing onto the TiO2, producing a superhydrophilic surface which prevents the adhesion of dirt and oils.

Advantages of using the solvothermal synthesis method are that:

  • it is low cost,
  • occurs at low reaction temperatures,
  • has simple procedures,
  • is scalable, allowing for mass-production, and
  • has easy control of parameters.

Below are SEM (scanning electron microscope) images of TiO2 nanoparticles synthesized by solvothermal treatment.